Last year was packed with every imaginable activity that saw the period through its ups and downs, but the Oza Carnival 2023, an event hosted annually and at its third edition already, brought the needed succour to those seeking to have a fun-filled celebration December.
Core activities lined up for the carnival include; football tournament, athletics competition, Aerobics exercise, Daily live band, evening sit-outs, and round table sessions/seminars, modelling, racing (motorcycles and cars), power bike stunting, track events, parade, prayer conference, commisioning of Oza Townhall Building, among other activities.
Last year’s event witnessed the attendance of an estimated thirty thousand people from within and across the Edo State, and because of the success of the event, especially as the number of attendants increasing every year it is hosted, the Initiator of Oza Carnival had things to say.
In appreciation, Mr. Festus Osagie Osaigbovo, the initiator and sponsor of Oza Carnival, expressed that the event hosted by the Oza community in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State aims to counteract rural-urban migration and enhance agricultural production within the state.
Impact of the Oza Carnival to Different Sectors of Edo State
Reflecting on the previous year’s success, Osaigbovo noted that the inaugural edition in 2021 drew over 5,000 attendees, significantly impacting the local economy. Emphasising the carnival’s broader goals, he highlighted the importance of the second edition, incorporating sports, farm produce exhibitions, and a beauty pageant to encourage youth empowerment and talent discovery.
Osaigbovo elaborated, stating that the carnival’s vision extends beyond the current generation, aiming to inspire and engage the youth in various fields such as football, agriculture, cultural displays, and beauty pageants. He underscored the potential for discovering and nurturing talent through various concerts and activities.
The carnival has also played a role in community development, as Osaigbovo revealed that sons and daughters residing abroad have undertaken the renovation of dilapidated buildings and the construction of new structures to accommodate tourists.
Highlighting the agricultural potential of Oza, Osaigbovo emphasized the fertile soil and vast lands available for various investments, including mechanized farming to address the nation’s food challenges.
The diverse array of activities planned for the carnival includes a procession, football matches, music concerts, fashion exhibitions, cultural displays, traditional wrestling, public lectures, comedy, prayer conferences, and awards.
Expressing gratitude on behalf of the 2023 Oza Carnival planning committee, the speaker acknowledged the collective efforts, prayers, financial assistance, and support from individuals who contributed to the success of the event. The committee extended appreciation to Dcn Festus Osaigbovo for creating a globally recognized platform, placing Oza on the world map. Special recognition was given to the leadership of ODF, as well as Ozarians both at home and abroad.
Individuals who attended the event, including guests, family members, and associates, were thanked, with a special mention of Dr. Anthony Osas Okungbowa for facilitating logistics during the carnival. The speaker concluded by expressing hopes for unity and greatness in the years ahead, looking forward to the 2024 edition of Oza Carnival, and extending advance wishes for a happy new year to all.
Historical Overview of Orhionmwon LGA in Edo State, Nigeria
Situated in Edo State, Nigeria, Orhionmwon is a significant Local Government Area with its headquarters located in Abudu. Established during the era of the defunct Bendel State, it holds the distinction of being the largest local government area in Edo South Senatorial district. In 1991, Uhunmwode local government was carved out from it.
Noteworthy for hosting the largest gas deposit in Nigeria, if not West Africa, Orhionmwon is rich in mineral resources. Among its notable features are the Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation, Oil Palm Plantation, Factory, and Sokponba Resort.
Covering an expansive area of 2,382 square kilometres, Orhionmwon boasted a population of 206,717 as per the 2006 census. Its postal code is 301, and it plays a pivotal role as one of the largest local government areas surrounding Benin City.
With a diverse array of towns and communities, including Idumodin, Ottah, Okuor, and Ugo, Orhionmwon has a vibrant agricultural sector cultivating crops such as plantains, yams, cassava, and maize. The area is also recognized for its economic activities, including food processing, logging, and animal breeding.
Beyond agriculture, the local government thrives in trade, hosting multiple markets that attract a multitude of buyers and sellers, contributing to the region’s prosperous trading industry. Dominated by Benin-speaking communities like Ugo, Umoghun Nokhua, Oben, Ikobi, and Okogbo, Orhionmwon is surrounded by neighbouring Delta, Kogi, and Ondo States.
In essence, Orhionmwon Local Government Area stands as a testament to the rich historical and economic tapestry of Edo State, playing a crucial role in the region’s development and prosperity.